Cougar Recruiting Round-up, 12/15

AFTER THE MOTHER lode the recruiting gods laid on the Washington State Cougars two weeks ago, it was clear that things were going to drop off, and drop off significantly this past weekend. The Cougar coaches took the time to bring in committed players, as well as a couple of JC prospects that are looking to find a home before the early signing period starts.

Justin Hickman visited Pullman mid-week and was greeted by snow flurries. No problem, said the DE from Arizona. "Weather won't be a factor to me at all," Hickman told Sunday. "I've been in all kinds of weather and I will adapt no matter where I go."

With the success the Cougars have had with JC players recently (think: Sammy Moore, Jonathan Smith, Donnie Jackson, etc...), it stands to reason that a guy like Hickman could find Pullman to be a very comfortable situation for him. Add to that the fact that both D.D. Acholonu and Isaac Brown are graduating, and it appears to be an ideal situation for a JC player to come in and make an instant impact.

Look for Hickman to stay in the Pac-10, as he's also looking at Oregon, Arizona State and UCLA. All but the Bruins have offered, but Justin is expecting them to pull the trigger on an offer during his official visit to Westwood this coming weekend.

Another DE, Riverside (Calif.) CC's own Letrell Myers also visited this weekend and certainly made his own case for someone the Cougars could plug into their defensive line immediately. At press time we had not spoken to Myers, but we've known for some time that Letrell has a soft spot for WSU. He's reportedly looking at Fresno State as well, but the Cougars have already nabbed one Bulldog prospect (Jason Roberts), so getting Letrell from FSU's clutches shouldn't be much of an issue.

After this past weekend, all Cougar recruitaholics can stop, take a breath, drink some egg nog and get ready for the new year. It looks like the WSU coaches will be trying to nab those final few in-state prospects still on their board, as well as maintain the current crop of commitments they already have.

Matt Eichelberger and Johnie Kirton already have visit dates set up for January. Expect Caesar Rayford, Isaiah Barsh and maybe some of the Kamiakin and Pasco players (Steve Davis, Nick Genatone, Roby Clyde, etc...) to be prime candidates for trip offers in the new year.

The notion of 'maintenance' is a quaint phrase, but it is of vital importance to coaches all over the country. There is a saying that when a player makes a verbal commitment, that's when the real recruiting of that player begins.

Such is the case with a kid like Kenny O'Neal. Although Kenny is not committed to any one school right now, he is pretty sure he'll be heading back to Georgia to play for the Bulldogs. He plays right now for Skyline High School in Oakland, California, but in reality he's an east coast guy. He transfered from Savannah (Geo.) Benedictine Military School two years ago and was the Georgia State 5A champ in the 100 meters as a sophomore.

Think Curtis Nettles...but faster.

Well, Kenny has pretty much figured it out, but that's when the other schools start jockeying for position down the final stretch. Therefore, it's not surprising that Washington State has come late to this party. And it's not strange to have O'Neal expressing interest, especially when you factor in the Cougars' strong track program (O'Neal plans on doing both football and track in college).

Will WSU really be a factor in the Kenny O'Neal sweepstakes when it's all said and done? Maybe, maybe not. But it does help to understand exactly the kind of juggling act and numbers game recruiting coordinators perform this time of year.

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